David Szpunar: Lead Engineer, PC Help Services

David's Church Information Technology

March 26th, 2008 at 2:18 pm Print This Post Print This Post

Secure Shell from Palm OS Treo Phone

My Nokia N800 can run SSH (via the standard Linux OpenSSH software compiled for the N800) in client and server modes without a problem. But I like the keyboard on my Treo 650 and can type quite quickly on it. What if I want to use Subversion to update my blog while all I have with me is my Treo? A little Googling turns up pssh, which does the job very well! I also found TuSSH which works, but I like the pssh solution better. TuSSH supports SSH 1 and some SSH 2 servers, while pssh supports only SSH 2 (which is all I connect to anyway–SSH 1 is broken and less secure). Both support public keys for authentication, although I haven’t tested this feature. I think pssh is going to stick around in my Palm’s arsenal and will likely come in quite handy! OpenSSH has its own list of Palm-compatible SSH software, with three entries (two of which I just mentioned). All three are freeware, and pssh and TuSSH both are under 300KB in size each.

One tip I did manage to track down (found this item on the pssh users archived mailing list) was that I could type a Tab character by typing Shift+Space (extensively useful for auto-completion in the bash shell on a full-sized keyboard, but even more so on a thumb board!). There’s a menu option to type a Tab as well, but that does kind of defeat some of the shortcut-ness I was looking for.

pssh does warn that it doesn’t use the best random number generator out there for encryption. I’m all for extra security, but for the few times I will use this I think a targeted attack that manages to crack my SSH tunnel is unlikely, and there are probably weaker links in our webhost-connection security than Secure Shell.